67,000 more file for unemployment in Colorado; Gig workers can now apply

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Planet Fitness closed March 17 until at least March 27 because of the new coronavirus crisis. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

DENVER  |  Over 67,000 more people filed for unemployment in Colorado last week, bringing the total number of new applications for the last month to just over 279,000, the state labor department said Thursday.

The number of new unemployment applications last week was less than the 104,217 new claims reported during the previous week.

However, self-employed and gig workers and others not previously able to collect unemployment benefits were only allowed to start filing claims on Monday and are not included in the latest official count.

Like other states, Colorado had to come up with a new process for accepting those claims and verifying the amount of money those workers were entitled to. About 51,000 people filed for benefits under that application through Wednesday but just over 10,000 were told to file for regular unemployment and exhaust those benefits first because they had some regular earnings reported on a W-2 form over the last 18 months, labor department spokeswoman Cher Haavind said.

Also this week, the state began paying an extra $600 a week of unemployment benefits from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program to people receiving unemployment payments. People do not have to take any action to receive that extra money.